Wednesday, April 23, 2014
McKinney Conference Room
Rescheduled from February 5.
The Chinese government has announced plans to move 250 million people from the countryside to the city by 2025. However, given the restrictive hukou system of household registration, serious questions remain about how this vast population of new arrivals will be integrated into the economic and social life of cities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in migrant schools in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chengdu, Friedman analyzes the exclusionary politics of urban China in which poor migrants are confined to highly precarious and privatized spaces of reproduction. The migrant school serves as a prism that reveals the way that parents’ precarious work, urban redevelopment, and the citizenship regime enshrined by hukou result in peripatetic reproduction. Unceasing movement both within the city and between countryside and city destabilizes daily and generational reproduction for migrants, thereby solidifying new forms of social inequality.
Eli Friedman is assistant professor in the Department of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell University.